Saturday, May 17, 2008

My warranty is expired

I have never been the guy who was really in shape. I had some times when I was really skinny, and a few times when I might have seen a little muscle mass, very little. Today I present my case that I am now expiring.

I looked online in a few places and found that the average white male is expected to live to his 70's. I looked at the expectancy of a white male from my birth year and it was 69. So I think mathamatically my theory is sound.

Some of you are no good with math, but prefer biology. Here are some facts. My hands are wrinkled, I have enough back hair to weave a small handtowl and I just bought a pair of pants and had to move up to size 36 to wear them loose like I like. If I stand up straight and look down, I can't see my feet anymore. Worse yet, my wife told me I was going bald this year. Of course she said it while laughing. Unfortunatly, my hair line is rising faster than the global warming seas, help me Al Gore!

If you prefer poli-sci. I don't like any of the canidates. I think they are all full of it. I am cynical of their false promises of better tomorrows and their unwillingness to pledge any real change or trually face our true issues. (education, health care, and a debt that I don't understand how we can ever repay. If we were a corporation, China might have the ability to have a hostile takeover.)

Sports fans. I get winded in the first game of basketball when I play. I hurt my knees last year in basketball and broke my foot and Shaq is younger than me and people think he should retire.

Lawyer's- most contracts for cars expire at 35 thousand miles, if you equate that to years, I am about there.

Doctor's- I am soft in the middle, eat more ice cream than is healthy, and the only bike I ride is a Vespa.

Psycologists- I do more "remembering when" then I do "dreaming".

Mormons- I am a High Priest.

Marketing and pollsters: this is my last year in the coveted 35 and under group.

So you get my point, I am peaking, plateuing, I am John Travolta during the 80's, pre-Pulp Fiction.

The good news is I can still stay up till midnight, I just need a nap the next day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day part III

Have you ever heard one of those stories where a mother cow raises a pig? That is a good example of my next tribute. Rhonda.
I met Rhonda while dating her daugher. I never was one to fear girlfriend's parents and perhaps I was too dumb not to fear this one, but I knew to respect her quickly. Upon first meeting her and her husband, I could see he was the fun loving daughter's daddy and she was the one who would quickly put me in my place if I did not treat her daughter correctly.
The daughter went off to college and Rhonda took it upon herself to make sure that I did not become a slacker in my church going. She had great boys who were still at home in high school that I got along with very well, so she invited me to come over on Sundays, again, probably to make sure I behaved myself.
She didn't become a mother to me right away. It wasn't until my mission and I started to look forward to her letters like a missionary does his own mother's. Before that and looking back, I can see how she influenced the path of my life early on.
I was done with high school and not feeling like I could afford college I decided to join the Air Force. I took the ASVAB and I let Rhonda know and she talked me out of it, and convinced me that a mission was the right thing to do.
Now if you have not had the privlege of meeting this wonderful women let me just say, she has her own way of convincing people to do things. A lot of times you might walk away thinking it was your own idea, she is that good. Other times, she makes it clear, very clear that your idea is wrong.
Well not to long later, Rhonda would be the one to put me on the plane to the MTC, a day that solified my Mormonism, but before that she went to the temple with me to baptise my father. She walked me through my church infancy and put me on the straight and narrow. She bought me all my suits for my mission and basically everything else.
She is also one of the keys to my conversion. After the tragic lose of her husband by someone elses hands, I showed her my anger and let her know that I hope the person responsible had to pay. She told me that she was not worried, she had a testimony of God and knew he would take care of the appropriate judgement.
After my mission, she kept me straight again, helping me see the light in a strange relationship that I was blind too.
She always walks a fine line. She never really asserts herself into my life as so much as she allows me to use her for a source of wisdom. I am sure there are many times she really wanted to let me know how she feels, but she held back.
Let me give you an example of the moxy this lady has. Although she would probably prefer I don't share this memory with you, but if you know any of the rest of the family you will all know exactly what I am talking about. We were going through the drive through of In-N-Out one day and the person's voice who was taking the order kept cutting out. I don't know what made her do it but she talked back the same way, covering her mouth a few times when she gave her order. I hardly go through a drive through without at least smiling about that day.
I have a testimony that God knows what we can handle. I don't think that there was ever a doubt that Rhonda could handle the loss of her husband and still be able to raise 6+1 children.
I know that her daughter posted a blog about her, but I have chosen not to read it yet because she like her mother is witty and smart and I would feel like I couldn't post this, but my wife best sums it up when she commented in that blog, "I am grateful to her for putting the finishing touches on the raising of my husband."
Every now and then you get asked to name a hero, for me it is easy, it's Rhonda. You are a solid foundation from which so many of us where able to learn and grow, I thank you for taking in the man child and making sure he became a man and more importantly a son of God.
Happy Mother's Day.

Mother's Day Part II

As I mentioned in my last blog, I was a ward of state almost 6 years starting just before kindergarten and lasting through 4th grade. I was fortunate enough to spend most of those years with the Perez family.
This Mother's day entry is about my foster mom, Concha. Concha is one of the most dedicated people I have ever met. She was the classic house wife. She rose before the sun did to make a real breakfast and packed a lunch for her husband and when I woke up at 6 there was always some breakfast on the table.
After her husband left at 6, she went straight to work. She went straight to laundry and getting dressed for the day. By the time I needed to go school, she had the house all clean and was ready to walk me to school.
She had only one vice, As The World Turns. If it was on, and I was home that meant only one thing, nap time. I think if I lived there now, it would still be the same.
Concha could cook. She would cook Mexican food like no other, from making tortillas from scratch to make tamales and Menudo. My mouth waters as I type this now. . .mmmmmmm!
Concha was all about devotion. She was devoted to her family. I don't know if she ever argued with her husband, or if she did it in Spanish and I didn't understand it. The little Spanish I know is from her, mostly endearing terms like meho. Sometimes not so endearing terms, the one that sticks out in my mind all the time which is guchino, meaning nasty. Perhaps I ate my buggers.
I learned to love books in her home because they never put the TV on anything I liked so I had nothing better to do. Hey it worked right?
Every now and then I think about raising foster children feeling I owe it to someone, but I don't know if I could be as loving as Concha was. I don't know if I could handle little kids that are little deviants like I was. She did a great job with me, she examplified great traits and in a non-preaching way taught me to clean my room. (my bed was made every morning before I even came to the table, and you never found a toy on my floor, ever! I took the trash out, mowed the lawn and worst of all had to pull weeds.
I also learned good eating habits, there was always a vegitable on the table and I never left the table without eating them. My only complaint about Concaha was that she made me eat the fat off of the meat. She used to tell me I was too skinny and I needed the fat. Well she will be happy to know that I am plenty fat in the middle now, and I still won't eat the fat off the meat!
Happy Mother's Day Concha!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mother's Day Part I

Most people only have one mom. I had numerous. Today I want to pay tribute to one of them.

My biological mother doesn't get much credit for raising me. Based on the traditional standards, my mom didn't do so well. I think it is only fair to give her some credit.

My mom, given the name of Rose was born to a family that loved her, but a family that was strict. My Grandmother imposed super strict rules on my mother, and was very controlling. As my Grandmother went blind, she only got meaner.

To make things even worse, my grandfather who adopted my mother, sexually abused her. My mom never revealed any of this to me until after my grandfather passed.

My mother married early at the age of 18. She married February 17th, 1972. Her first husband, my father, died the next October of a heart attack. I was born on what should have been the my parent's first anniversary.

My mother married a 2nd time. My mom had my brother and sister by this guy. In short the guy was a loser. My earliest childhood memories are of him beating my mother. He beat her so bad she got dentures to replace all the teeth he knocked out. She was strong enough to load us into the Pinto and drive us from Oklahoma to California.

Somewhere in all this my mother developed a need for drugs. Even though she was strong enough to escape this bad guy, except for one great man, she never could maintain relationships, most of these relationships ended because of the addiction to narcotics.

So with that background, my mom taught me survival. I really don't know how she is still alive. She isn't in the best shape, but she still fights every day. She fought to get her children back from the State of California after she was incarcerated early in my life. My mom taught me love, she never judged, she was supportive verbally of what ever I did. She trusted me, and because of that trust, I felt I was responsible for doing the right things. She also taught me the value of education. It took her longer than most people to get her schooling done, but she eventually went on to get her nursing license and worked very hard and then came home to raise three kids on her own and take care of my dying grandfather.

So this Mother's Day, I say thanks Mom, I know you don't count yourself as a success, but I think you tried, and I love you for that!

This picture of my mom was from the day I came home from my mission. I was not expecting her to be there. It was a great surprise. It is the only picture I own of her.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Iron Man

I can't even remember the last movie I saw Robert Downey Jr. in. Didn't he do TV for a while? When I saw the first preview I thought, miscast? Then I thought low budget? Then it sunk in, the character Tony Sparks is a playboy and always seems to get into a little trouble, Robert Downey Jr. it is then.

As it turns out, Robert Downey Jr. was perfectly cast. He was believable as an anguished superhero. Perhaps one of the best superhero actors in the last little while. (that should start some arguments) Sorry Spidey!

I know it is a good movie when actors that usually kind of drive me crazy are enjoyable and to go along with Downey Jr. was a great job by Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges. (yes, The Dude)

The movie was smart, it took its time developing the character to actually get you to care about Tony Sparks, a.k.a. Iron Man. You felt his pain and I even think they tried to make a little bit of a political statement with him.

Comic book movies are some times hard to watch, too much pain and suffering from the hero, or at least too much bad acting giving me pain and suffering. They also tend to not explain everything or explain to much. If I were a more patient man and a better writer, I would think of some examples, but I am neither. This comic book movie, gave you time, it filled it with little bits and pieces of action. It was like watching a science project come together. Best of all, I think it the kind of comic book movie that you can take a date and not worry that she isn't going to be bored and start annoying you by doing that ur-ur-ur-ur sound with the straw and shaking the ice around in her cup.

The special effects were good without making the whole movie depend on them, but it definitely declared summer is here. The movie ran a little longer than 90 minutes and it was satisfying the whole way.

The only drawback to the movie was staying behind and seeing the clip from the sequal.

My review: Pay the big bucks, see this baby in the theater, it is worth the metal in your pocket.

A few last notes: We met the Walker there, and he liked it. He is a little more picky than I am, alright a lot more picky. I also just looked and gave it the highest review of a movie so far this year, not that there has been much competition with the writers strike I don't think you movie watchers that love the serious piece with the gloom and doom are going to see that much this year.

Movie Reviews

I have been thinking of doing movie reviews for a while now. I don't have any right to do so except the A I got in film class in college and that was UVSC, so it doesn't count for much.( The only class I ever loved going to. Never missed a day.) Anyway, back to the point, I am doing this for fun. I have to be honest. I watch a movie 3 or 4 times a week. I don't watch much TV. I prefer to start and finish the story all in one night, no commercials. I need closure and TV does not provide that and the time commitment is great.

I will rate using the following system- when you should watch it. (even though I watch most of my movies at the dollar theater)

World Premier (A grade)

Opening Night at local theater

Dollar Theaters


Wait for the remake (F grade)

Now you have to realize that I don't watch most movies till they make it to the dollar theaters, so that is why Dollar theaters gets the C grade.

So have fun and argue with me all you want. . .